The best starting strategy for Athens is to be careful on the military front whilst trying to be aggressive in peaceful expansion. The city has the potential to be very strong economically, and thus militarily, thanks to mercenaries, but will be vulnerable for quite some time. This is not a nation we recommend to players who are still new to the game, as you’ll have to juggle many priorities at once, and one wrong judgement can spell doom.
Athens will be in constant rivalry with Sparta, unless both are at war with Persia. As such, for a good part of the campaign, you’ll run the risk of being conquered by the Lacedemonians, and you’ll often be tempted to strike at them … just in case they were planning something foul!
If Athens is not allied with Sparta and neither is at war with Persia, then there will be a regular check to see who has the upper hand. This considers who has the most regions, the most legacy, the biggest fleet (at start there is no supremacy, but it can change very fast).
If one has supremacy over the other, then a reward will be given to the winner, and a penalty to the loser. Note that none of the rewards mean more legacy, extra ships or extra regions.
Starting in 500 BCE, Regions with at least one Hellenes ethnicity in coastal Asia Minor with less than 75 loyalty and less than 60 combat power of units may revolt, if not occupied by a Hellene nation. Once one revolts, others that satisfy the conditions will do so too, once. If Athens can go to war with the occupier(s), it will do so instantly. If it can go to war, the region goes to Athens, and the city immediately receives one Armored Hoplite, 150 money, 25 manpower and 25 metal for each region in revolt.
Athens will produce better ships as the nation has the ‘Shipbuilder’ trait (+1 Experience Level), the city itself has a ship house building from the start (Neosokoi) adding extra experience, and the initial shipyard will make production faster. But that’s not all, as the Neosokoi will permanently reduce the upkeep of a nearby ship by 1 or 2 gold per turn! With all these advantages, supremacy at sea will be easy to achieve provided you invest regularly in the navy.
Athens benefits from having eight special missions at its disposal. There is no penalty in not doing them, but if you succeed, you’ll get extra legacy points and a special reward. Also note that if you fail a mission and if it is still valid, you might get it again in the future. Examples: Build an Academy for your philosophers, Form the Delian League, Rival Macedonia, etc.
Athens has two new custom buildings at its disposal in the DLC, in addition to the 10 special buildings each Hellenic nation has
• Makra Teiksè
The Makra Teiksè, or Long Walls, were of great importance to Athens, as they protected Piraeus harbor from being captured, the port being over 5 km from the city itself. They provide extra garrisons and defense, which with Athens’ own city walls and the Acropolis, give the city-state a formidable garrison that can beat even a strong army.
Actually not specific to Athens but an addition to all Hellenic nations, these ship houses were used to build, repair and train the crew of many Greek states. In addition to free starting XP, they will refit one ship a turn (it must be in the harbor or adjacent to it) by permanently reducing the upkeep by 1 or 2 gold (up to -50% of base upkeep).
The army is made of Armored Hoplites, Citizen Hoplites, Javelinmen and Javelin cavalry.
Athens, as a Hellenic nation, has three custom regional decisions at its disposal. They also start with Implant Trade Settlements x2 and Naval Support x1 at turn 1, giving them a head start in snatching coastal regions (which incidentally is also the objective of one of their custom missions).
• Implant Trade Settlements
Implant a trade colony in a coastal region controlled by an Independent nation. Yes, the region becomes yours!
• Panhellenic Games
Improve relations with the targeted Hellenic nation (even if at war). If your ruler is a good diplomat, the decision can even stop an ongoing war.
• Naval Support
Inflict damages to an enemy force adjacent to one of your fleet. A friendly army must be adjacent to this enemy force or in the same region (in case of a siege). Very handy to soften up the opposition just before an important battle.